The View From Churchmans

Ipswich Town home match reports from just another season-ticket holder

MATCH REPORT

Ipswich Town 1 Norwich 1

Wow. All-out passion and commitment, form-book-out-the-window, ninety
minutes of blood, sweat and tears, crowd baying for blood …these are all
the things you expect from a local derby.

And which we got none of today.

It wasn’t a bad match, but it could have been any old match really. Norwich
suckered us into playing it the way they’d planned, by dropping almost the
whole team back, drawing us forward and hitting us on the break. Not rocket
science. But we fell for it: the Bent Brothers failed to make any real
openings, we got bogged down waiting for one, and Venus and McGreal slowly
crept forward, putting them on the back foot every time there was a
clearance. Our formation was probably meant to be 5-3-2, then 4-4-2, but
much of the time it was more like 1-7-2, and all over the place. With that
many players in the midfield, no wonder we dominated it (and consequently
much of the game), but it means you’ve got to use the wings or you’ll be
falling over each other, and we were determined not to do that, it seems.
Shame, because in the two Darrens I felt we had players who could have used
that width, but both had others outside (if behind) them.

I’m slightly worried because the starting lineup is just about what I’d
consider to be our strongest, so long as Jermaininho isn’t having to play as
an out-and-out full back. But it was tactically naive, and one or two
players were a bit disappointing, to say the least.

At half-time we’d had so much of the play, whilst still managing to have no
more chances than Norwich, that Mrs R and I agreed the game had 0-1 (some
git in yellow, 80) written all over it. The 80 turned out to be 79, so as it
happened, we weren’t far out. But it had the unexpected effect of making us
play like it was a derby match for 15 minutes, and that was 100% the reason
behind us equalising. When the penalty rebounded off the post (which is
about the closest we’ve been from the spot for three years), three other
Town players were tearing in while the Norwich defenders watched. Finally,
we had the will to do it – shame it took until the last few minutes.

By the way, did Roberts foul Marshall before their goal? Sadly, after
wearing out the slow-mo button on my video just now, I have to revise my
blue-tinted opinion and say no, he didn’t, although it was running into him
which caused Marshall to drop it.

Some ratings:
(1-5 for effort, 1-5 for achievement)

MARSHALL 8 (4/4): Hugely composed under what must have been pretty awful
pressure (especially in the second half) from the Norwich fans, he hardly
put a foot wrong and made one extraordinary save. I think he can be excused
their goal, which was just one of those unfortunate things.

McGREAL 5 (3/2), HREIDARSSON 6 (3/3), VENUS 6 (3/3): Hermann was our only
defender for much of the match, had little to do and in fact looked bored.
McGreal and Venus found themselves in the role of creators far too often, as
everyone in front of them ran out of ideas, although John looked the slower
of the two getting back.

WRIGHT 5 (3/2), MAGILTON 8 (4/4), HOLLAND 9 (5/4), CLAPHAM 7 (4/3): One of
those games where you realise what a god Matt is (and one of those games
where watching the tape of the game in less emotional surroundings makes you
realise how much work he gets through: I was still undecided on my MotM
until I watched it again, sorry Matt). Jim was often overambitious, but just
as fired up for it, and often started and finished moves. For an old bloke
he didn’t half cover some ground. Jamie was allowed to go wandering quite
effectively, and if he’d had his shooting boots on he’d have become another
derby day legend. Sadly, he didn’t get close! Jermaininho failed to provide
any spark going forward, and struggles to make any mark at full-back. Lost
his temper and kicked the ball away stupidly at the end for a yellow.

Darren BENT 5 (3/2), Marcus BENT 4 (2/2), AMBROSE 5 (3/2): Very little
happened up front. The Darrens seemed reluctant to go for it, perhaps even
nervous. Marcus didn’t seem happy to be there at all. Was he injured early
on? It seemed so. After that, there was no pace and very little power. Very
disappointing.

Subs: ARMSTRONG made a big difference through his sheer enthusiasm, and
while he’s never going to set the world on fire, at least he got a couple of
decent efforts in by sheer application. What might have happened if we’d put
him on earlier and got out the ball out wide eh? And what can I say about
COUNAGO? In ten minutes he raced around like he was really up for it, got
knocked over every time he came near an opponent as usual, smacked Darren
Kenton in the face and without question should have been sent off, then made
the penalty and finally popped up in just the right place in the very last
minute. For that I suppose we can forgive anything.

The REFEREE, much as I hate to say it, got almost everything right. The
CROWD were inexplicably quiet – even exhortations from Matt failed to get
much going. We were, and it pains me to say this, out-shouted by the Norwich
fans throughout. And it was embarrassing. All in all, I’m just glad the
whole thing’s out of the way really.

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